I have traditionally avoided funks by being addicted to productivity. If I am constantly in a flurry of activity, I cannot introspect enough to be depressed.
I become anxious if I’m not getting stuff done. (I think, lately, because I’m scared of facing myself.)
But this semester, I have intentionally lightened my load.
The result? I have been in a 3-month long funk of rage and sadness.
The usual thing (writing) isn’t helping. Neither is working out. Though I’m still doing both. Less than I’d like to be.
I have been getting much, much less done; and I’m trying to be okay with that. It’s hard.
I’m not saying this to elicit pity, so if it is your impulse to say something like, “It’ll get better!” and “You go girl!” please don’t. I know it will get better. I am totally going.
I am sharing about my funk because funk shouldn’t be taboo. Because women’s funk especially should not be taboo. A lot of us have memorized lessons that say, “contentment is not your birthright: internalize and adjust, you can make everyone happy.”
I’m calling shenanigans on all that. That shit is a recipe for an eternal motherfunking funk.
There’s a lot of media about women in extreme funks: substances and addiction, abuse, approximate or near life-ending funks.
This funk I’m having isn’t anything like that.
This is a low-grade, sometimes ignorable funk. But ignorable funks are dangerous: my intuition is lower, I feel like checking out. Ignoring things that are important can have lasting physical, emotional, and financial consequences.
But funks are also a healthy part of the process. And I’m learning how to use it to be a better person, instead of just ignoring it or launching back into a frenzy of hyper productivity. I’m making conscious, deliberate, steps toward no mo funk. Or low mo funk.
Part of my funk is the result of plugging into books about women, about feminism. Intentionally becoming more tuned in to my daughter’s education (which is fucking depressing and a post for another day). Paying attention to politics.
Looking at myself and the ways in which my religious, rural upbringing has shaped the way I think about myself and other women, how I have voluntarily believed(and sometimes still believe) I am not worthy or deserving of things that, frankly, I want. Basic things like professional fulfillment and money and self-assurance, confidence, and to be taken seriously by people in authority.
I’m staring the fact that I talk myself out of a lot of self-confidence directly in the face.
I’m trying to figure out how to stop getting in my own way when I want to communicate in important and meaningful ways.
I am trying to get to the locus of my fear.
I am trying to become a better woman so I can teach my daughter to be powerful and self-actualized and know how to ask for and pursue what she wants without feeling like an imposter.
And over the last few days, I’ve had a couple of experiences in my communities that made me feel relevant. And strong. And proud.
So I want to take this moment to be grateful for my communities and share them with you.
One of the communities, the best one is the Wilkes Creative Writing community. Just being connected to so many productive writers gives me the warm fuzzies. So many of my peers, friends, colleagues, and teachers from Wilkes are doing amazing things.
- Lori A. May is my homegirl.
- Foamers is a book about the end of the world by a Wilkes student,
- published by a Wilkes Faculty (Kaylie Jones) imprint that was recently developed in partnership with Akashic Books.
- The hilarious PeeKay is live-tweeting movies.
- Swandive Publishing just printed an anthology full of poems by loads of poets with some Wilkies among them.
This is 5 out of 900 things that just crossed my Facebook feed yesterday and early this morning.
The fabulous Trilby wrote me special to ask for a submission to her new online journal, Red Lit. (You should check it out and submit, too).
And an editor at a tiny press who has my manuscript has been sending me poems and links that my work reminds him of, challenging my thinking and being generally awesome.
And the facebook group dedicated to raising awareness to Opt Out of Standardized Testing for PA has provided assurance that I am not, in fact, insane. And encouragement and advice when I was seriously millimeters from letting apathy win.
I had a wonderful, long, simpatico conversation with a district administrator when I showed up to opt Child out of the PSSAs.
And last week, after a failed hour with Angie’s List and web searches for talk therapists in my region, I put out a Facebook update asking for recommendations of secular (you wouldn’t believe how difficult this is in my area), female talk therapists so that I can get help to untangle this mess in my head. This mess that I don’t even have specific words for. My friends delivered. And I even have insurance. Thanks, Obamacare.
It feels good to do things that give me power and that I want to do. Small steps.
Anybody care to share a moment of funk? Or a month or year? How did you get out of it? or How did you cope?